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Components of a Drip Irrigation System

Drip irrigation systems consist of emission devices serviced by a water distribution network that includes control zone equipment. At the water source, water is controlled with automatic valves, sometimes amended with nutrients or chemicals, filtered and regulated at levels suitable for the emission devices chosen and plants being grown. From there, water is delivered to each of the emission devices through a network of PVC and PE pipes. The emission device, whether it is drip tape, a drip emitter, jet or micro-sprinkler, then delivers water and nutrients to the soil where plant roots may nourish the plant. All components have attributes that affect performance, and that are traded off with initial, installation, operation and maintenance costs. A thorough understanding will assist in selecting the proper equipment to achieve desired expectations for the given application. Drip irrigation systems are durable and are built to withstand outdoor conditions for reasonable lengths of time, but care should be taken to avoid damage by wildlife, foot traffic or field equipment. In many cases, the environmental conditions will dictate the choice of emission device for any given application. A brief description of the three equipment classes follows:

1. EMISSION DEVICES

Once the emission device is chosen, a system of filters, chemical injectors, pipes , valves and fittings must be constructed to deliver water reliably, safely and efficiently to each outlet, and to facilitate system maintenance.

Emission Devices

2. DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

Once the emission device is chosen, a system of filters, chemical injectors, pipes , valves and fittings must be constructed to deliver water reliably, safely and efficiently to each outlet, and to facilitate system maintenance.

Distribution Sytstem

3. CONTROL ZONE EQUIPMENT

Now the drip irrigation system must be monitored and operated.  It cannot be stressed enough how important the first two categories (flow meters and pressure gauges) are to assess performance and guidance for operation, and how important the last two categories (valves and controllers) are to deriving the maximum benefit from a drip irrigation system.

Control Zone Equipment

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